After a false start on Feb. 1, Empower Illinois is once again accepting scholarship applications.

Citing what it called “extreme demand” that crashed its computers on Feb. 1, Empower Illinois said in a Feb. 19 media release that “our system has been enhanced to make it easier for families and to manage the demand expected for tax credit scholarships to private schools throughout Illinois.”

Sunday, 04 March 2018 17:56

Cathedral closing parish school

Citing low enrollment and continued debt, Cathedral School officials in Springfield announced that the school will close at the conclusion of the current academic year.

“Coming to this decision has been extremely difficult and painful,” said Father Christopher House, pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish. “I have said in each State of the Parish address since becoming pastor in August 2014, that the parish has been in a state of deficit spending since at least 2011. In spite of budget cuts and reduction in staff, this trend has not been broken.”

Five college students from a parish in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois were among those who shared $3,000 in the Father Yunker Student Assistance Fund this academic year.

Diocesan recipients include Matthew Banaitis who attends Illinois Wesleyan University and is the son of Karen and Joseph Banaitis of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham; Austin Dierkes, who attends the University of Alabama, and his brother Adam who attends Southern Illinois University Carbondale. They are sons of Kathleen and Alec Dierkes of Chatham and members of St. Joseph the Worker Parish. Also honored were Brooke Metzger, a student of Illinois College and Nicholas Metzger, who attends Illinois State University. Their parents are Ramona and Michael Metzger and are also parishioners of St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham.

Sunday, 04 February 2018 12:31

SDCCW scholarship competition opened

The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) is offering four $500 scholarships to recognize outstanding Catholic female high school seniors. Applicants will be judged on how they exemplify the SDCCW’s mission values of leadership, faith and service.

Jan. 31 was the first day that families of K-12 students who attend one of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois could apply for a “Tax Credit Scholarship” made possible by the Invest in Kids Act that was signed into law last year by the governor.

“Our schools are doing a really good job of getting information out to both donors and parents,” said Brandi Borries, diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools. “Some even set up times in their computer labs for parents to come in and fill out the application.”

DECATUR — St. Teresa High School is looking at bringing international students to the the school and greater Decatur community.

Development director Brandon Barney says they are searching for families to host international students that will be arriving next Fall.

Bishop Paprocki surprised with honor after celebrating Catholic Schools Week Mass

GLEN CARBON — After concluding Mass celebrating Catholic Schools Week on Jan. 29, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki blessed the newly-completed band room, robotics lab, classrooms and fitness center at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon. Then the school had a surprise for the bishop.

Sunday, 07 January 2018 14:02

And the MCA winner is ...

On Dec. 1, McKenzie Baalman, a sixth-grade student at St. Mary School in Brussels, and her parents Colleen and Wayne Baalman, joined other winners and their families at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for Mass and to celebrate the opening of the display of their winning artwork. The winning entries were displayed throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

GLEN CARBON — Four seniors at Father McGivney Catholic High School have been chosen as Illinois State Scholar finalists. The Father McGivney Catholic High School State Scholars for this year are: Teresa Barz, Magdalynn Fine, Noah Pirtle and Simeona Rasp.

This year’s graduating class of 28 students is the school’s third graduating class. In the short five-year history of Father McGivney, the school has produced 12 Illinois State Scholar finalists out of a total of 70 graduates. This achievement is indicative of the importance placed on academics at Father McGivney Catholic High School, noted Principal Joe Lombardi.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield announced that 34 seniors have been recognized as 2018-19 Illinois State Scholars.

“It is an honor to have over 20 percent of the senior class selected as Illinois State Scholar finalists,” said Kara Rapacz, principal. “We are proud of the hard work and extraordinary achievements of these young men and women.”

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The college years are an exciting and rewarding time, but they also can be difficult when it comes to young adults and their faith.

Statistics show that up to 80 percent of Catholic students stop going to Mass while they are at college.

A new initiative in the Diocese of Charleston aims to stop that trend.

Proclaiming the joy of the Gospel is the mission entrusted by the Lord to his church. In keeping with this mission Pope Francis is introducing a new approach through a 2018 Bishops’ Synod with the topic, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.”

The Catholic Church has decided to examine herself on how she can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love, and to ask young people to help her in identifying the most effective ways to announce the Good News today. By listening to young people, the church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world and glimpse which lies ahead and the paths the church is called to follow.

The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) has chosen five young women to receive $500 scholarships to use toward their college education. Scholarship applicants are chosen annually. Scholarship chairperson Judy Holmes said a panel of nine judges had a difficult time choosing this year’s winners out of a field of 78 applicants who applied earlier this spring.


“Having spent 15 years in Catholic schools, my faith life has become the foundation of my life,” Madi Connors said confidently during her testimony at the Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) Springboard event in Springfield.

“In having the privilege of going to Marquette [Catholic High School], I have the opportunity to speak openly of my faith and my relationship with God.”

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:09

May named to all-state academic team

Routt Catholic High School senior Patrick May, son of Michelle and Michael May, has been named an honorable mention recipient to the Illinois High School Association All-State Academic Team. He was chosen from 475 students who were nominated by their principals and is one of only 50 students selected.


Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield has announced that John Stegeman, the son of James and Susan Stegeman, has been named as a National Merit Scholarship finalist.

Stegeman joins approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $33 million to be offered this spring to National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

ALTON — The engineering team at Marquette Catholic High School took third place at the recent “Hackathon” sponsored by World Wide Technology, an engineering firm based in St. Louis.

The competition required student teams to use technology to solve a current problem at their school or in the community.

Sunday, 19 February 2017 09:15

SDCCW opens scholarship competition

The Springfield Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (SDCCW) is offering four $500 scholarships to recognize outstanding Catholic female high school seniors. Applicants will be judged on how they exemplify the SDCCW’s mission values of leadership, faith and service.

QUINCY — Quincy University sophomore, Ian Heinze, was recently published by the National Alzheimer’s Association for a story he wrote about his grandma, who has had Alzheimer’s for a few years. His story, A Forgotten Lifetime, was published in late November.

“It started off just as notes I would jot down while visiting her,” said Heinze. “These notes hastily evolved into a gnawing need for her story to be written down.”

Sunday, 08 January 2017 17:24

Teens show true meaning of Christmas

PITTSFIELD — Each year, Veritas, the teen group at St. Mary Parish in Pittsfield sponsors a “Christmas Giving Tree” to help where local need identifies itself to the youth.

This year, the beneficiary was a local mother, and her 3-year-old and 8-month-old sons. The mother had just returned home in mid-December to recuperate from severe injuries she suffered in an automobile accident.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield has 28 seniors recognized as 2017-2018 Illinois State Scholars.

QUINCY — Winners were announced Nov. 19 for student artists in grades 7-12 in the Jubliee Year of Mercy sacred art exhibition at Quincy University’s Gray Gallery.

Two Sacred Heart-Griffin High School students are set to present Silver Cross recitals — one in piano and one in voice — at Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Dominican Hall, 1200 W. Washington St. in Springfield. Lindsay Mattea Finnell will present her Silver Cross in piano on Saturday, May 7 at 2 p.m. Anna Benoit will present her Silver Cross in voice on Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m.

Edwardsville — Inspired by Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy, Rachel Weaver’s sixth-grade class at St. Mary’s School recently devoted an entire school day putting the corporal works of mercy into practice as random acts of kindness.

After starting the day at Mass, students visited an Edwardsville fire station and the Glen Carbon Police Department to deliver cupcakes and other sweets to thank the first responders for keeping the communities safe.

Kathryn Marie Bretscher, daughter of David and Michelle Bretscher of Springfield, will present her Silver Cross recital in piano on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. in Sacred Heart-Griffin's Dominican Hall, 1200 W. Washington St., Springfield.


Sunday, 15 November 2015 12:09

Bishop, athletes hold rosary rally

More than 150 athletes from all seven of the Catholic high schools in the diocese participated in the first rosary rally at St. Teresa High School in Decatur on Oct. 11.

St. Aloysius Parish and its grade school recently dedicated a statue of their patron saint during an October homecoming celebration. The statue was donated by Father Jeff Holtman, who was parochial vicar at the parish from 1988-1992.

EFFINGHAM — HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital patients are the fortunate beneficiaries of gifts from a generous teenager who decided that it was better to give than to receive on her birthday.

Sunday, 18 October 2015 09:43

‘Street retreat’ raised awareness

On Sept. 18, the seventh and eighth grade classes at St. Dominic School participated in a "street retreat." We prayed for the city of Quincy, the state of Illinois, the country and the world.

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